Turn off… I dare ya!

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?… You’ve had a busy day full of ups and down and you are feeling physically and emotionally drained. It’s nighttime and you desperately need to muster that final shred of energy to cook a healthy dinner, study, spend time with your family and/or clean a little. You just need a quick break before you start so you sit on the couch for just 5 minutes… whats the harm in that?

tv

The Vicious Cycle

TV goes on and you are hit with a crappy rerun of some American fluff that fills your brain with nothingness and shit stereotypes (I seriously love Friends but just take a step back and look at the values it pushes about women, overweight people, the value of attractiveness and homosexuals…little bit mean!). Anyway after that you decide to be a bit more highbrow and flick to the news. Now you are getting hit with utterly devastating headlines that are only being broadcast because tragedy is somewhat magnetic and it draws massive ratings. So now you are depressed and find it hard to get up off the couch to do what you are meant to because, really, whats the point? If you take the those bulletins as gospel it’s likely you’re just going to die of some strange vector borne virus or be killed for being a good Samaritan and that’s only if the world doesn’t implode first due to global warming. By now, dinner is looking far less creative, much more microwaved and mysteriously there is a glass of wine in your hand. Then another mindless comedy comes on, and it pulls you back in because you are craving mental vacuity even more now. All the while you’re conversation with the actual people in the room has been zombie-like and disinterested at best. The vicious cycle continues…

So I pulled the plug…

As I mentioned in my 2013 Resolutions post (see it here) that is why I decided to get rid of my TV. Life is bloody short and there I was sitting on my arse watching other peoples scripted shallow lives all the while complaining I didn’t have enough hours in the day. I had found that I was getting into an especially bad routine because I am breastfeeding at the moment and it is all too tempting to sit on the couch: baby on boob, eyes on TV. So it was with some trepidation that I ripped that security blanket off but I am so glad I did. As soon as I moved the TV out of the room it felt lighter… calmer. I filled the big rectangular void with a painting that makes my soul sing every time I look at it. I took the DVD’s out of the cabinet and filled it with books. I replaced the untidy TV related clutter with my iPod and speakers. All of a sudden those things I had been missing – serenity, books, music – were back in my life. I dunno about you but doesn’t the ‘after’ look so much better than the ‘before’?…

before adn after tv

Life since

You may not believe me but our lives have changed significantly since removing the tele! I thought that I wasn’t watching it too much… I’d just have a DVD on in the background while I pottered and tended to my lovely daughter after all. Clearly I was kidding myself. My to do list has whittled down from ‘Outrageous’ to ‘Achievable’ in just a few weeks. I have started doing craft activities again (a rug for that very lounge room is nearing completion). I am not feeling as anxious without all the sad news stories peppering my fragile little brain. My lounge looks nicer.  Music is filling the air again rather than advertising (RUGS RUGS RUGS!). Our power bill is lower. My daughter and I spend time outside and i’m not filling her very impressionable mind with bullshit.

But my favorite offshoot would have to be; I now feel present. I am properly listening to my husband when he tells me about his day… which he tells me at the dinner table now rather than on the couch (don’t judge me!). I am concentrating on my daughter while I’m breastfeeding – it’s actually a beautiful bonding experience. I am thinking more about my life rather than other peoples. I am making my own values and choices rather being sold others. It’s bloody lovely.

Take the challenge

Now i’m not saying that everyone needs to get rid of their TV – some of you out there have will power that far exceeds my own. But if you are feeling a bit frazzled and like there aren’t enough hours in the day… why not give it a go? I truly didn’t think I watched that much and have been shocked by all the spare time I now have and how organised my little abode is. Just a thought if you are wanting a little more from life… why not try it for a month or two and see what happens?

If you do try it or have been living without a TV already I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Plastic Free July – Take the Challenge!

Plastic is literally taking over the planet. Wherever you are right now stop and have a look around. How much plastic can you see near you? Then take into account the plastic that you can’t see – plastic in cosmetics, clothing material and in your chewing gum (yep, it is made of plastic!). Then there is landfill. Now go further – think about our oceans. We have basically created a thin soup of plastic that touches every corner of the globe. It doesn’t have to be this way though – it is easy enough to change habits and shift demand towards better, kinder alternatives. As always it starts with the individual – so here is an encouraging kick-in-the-butt to get started! One of my favourite Perth organisations Western Earth Carers have started Plastic Free July; a challenge that anyone can partake in to try and reduce their dependency on plastic.

Why Give Up Plastic?

What resonates most to me when I think about why we should all try to eliminate plastic from our lives is this; we are using a material that is designed to last forever to create items that are designed to be thrown away. That just doesn’t make sense. Think about the lifespan of a lollipop wrapper for example, the plastic is made using precious oils and gases (both non-renewable resources) it is ripped off without a thought and is thrown away. But where is ‘away’? Away is landfill or our waterways where it then kills animals, pollutes the ecosystem and eventually breaks down into microscopic particles that are ingested into the food chain (which ends with us).

And, more directly, there are also all the links between plastics and serious disease such as obesity, diabetes and cancer. BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical that is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics. Our use of BPA is so prolific that a study detected it in the urine of 93% of the population over 6 years of age. The convenience and ‘economical’ nature of this material is literally killing us (and the planet) and the real tragedy is that it is completely unnecessary. There are so many opportunities to recycle, reuse and – best yet – reduce by using biodegradable alternatives. But while we continue to accept the status quo, nobody is going to change anything.

(If you want to learn more about plastic pollution then check out this quick and bloody interesting You Tube video featuring Charles Moore – the man that discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch back in 1997).

The Challenge

Here are the rules;

  • For the entire month of July attempt to buy no plastic packaging.
  • Choose your commitment level – either 1 shopping trip, 1 day, 1 week or 1 month.
  • Create a ‘Dilemma Bag’. This will be your sin bin, used to collect any plastics that you accidentally accumulate or couldn’t avoid. At the end of the challenge Earth Carers have requested that everyone sends in a picture of your dilemma bag.

I will be committing to the entire month and I really hope that if you decide to give it a go that you push yourselves! It is not a competition, it is a challenge. If you accidentally consume plastic that is okay – just stick  it in that bag.

When I first found out that I was pregnant I was at a loss at how on earth I was going to get through nine months without my customary Saturday night champagne (not to mention my equally important Sunday through to Friday red wines?) but now that I am used to it, it is actually really easy. I am confident it will be the same with this challenge. Who knows… it might stick?

Take the leap!

Come on… Be brave! Make a concerted effort to do what is best for the planet and your health and register with tfor the challenge here. They also have a Facebook page with all sorts of updates and encouragement.

But don’t stop there – get your family involved, put some information on the fridge in your workplace, form a pact with your partner. The more people that are involved the pool of creative minds to bounce idea’s and tips off.

I wanted to include this gorgeous TedX by Beth Terry who founded My Plastic Free Life (a fabulous resource). In it she explains the moment that made her stop and change direction, her experience so far and her tips and tricks on reducing her plastic consumption. She is so inspirational because she is so normal. Absolutely gorgeous.

Start Planning

This is not the sort of thing that you can just jump into without at least a little bit of preparation. I am going to make sure that I provide plenty of resources and recipes to help you out.  Stay tuned for my next post which will contain instruction on exactly how to prepare yourself and your household for the challenge. In the meantime here is an old post with tips and tricks on reducing consumption or you could take a deeper look at the effects of plastic to really get you motivated.

If you are in Perth the Western Earth Carers also have a whole heap of events to provide inspiration and information like an introductory workshop before the challenge starts,  a screening of Bag It, a wholefood cooking class with Jude Blereau and a finale party to celebrate your efforts!

For Em’s follow up post 5 Steps To Being Plastic Free click here